Institute Update: The Institute’s Commitment to Community, Family and Child Vitality

2023 Institute Update: A close look at who we are and what we have been up to lately!

Who are we?

First, who are we? The Institute of Family and Community Impact is OhioGuidestone’s Center of Excellence for research, clinical training, innovation, and advocacy. The Institute, or IFCI, was born out of OhioGuidestone’s strategic plans for growing our innovation and research in 2017.

Recently, the Institute has built valuable community partnerships with early care educators utilizing Joyful Together. Joyful Together was recently featured in the podcast “Growing Up with Dr. Sarah.”  Assistant Vice President Brittany Pope and Institute Fellow and Joyful Together trainer Kristina Ryan shared about implementing Joyful Together and the science behind it. OhioGuidestone’s Institute of Family and Community Impact is empathetically forging the path forward toward an equitable, resiliency-centered society. Grants like the $48 million Pre-School Development Grant – Birth to Five will unquestionably help IFCI continue supporting early childcare professionals, families and communities in Ohio through evidence-based research and innovation.

Institute leaders posing with pediatrician around a table with a podcast microphone

Assistant Vice President of Applied Clinical Sciences & Research and Institute Fellow & Joyful Together trainer Kristina Ryan with Dr. Sarah recording a podcast episode that details our evidence-based program Joyful Together

OGS Partners with Starting Point

We at IFCI know joy can be found everywhere from home to school to the pediatrician’s office with our easy-to-do Joyful Together activities. Our Assistant Vice President, Brittany R. Pope interviewed with News 5 to explore our recent Joyful Together Early Care & Education partnership with Starting Point, the expert in quality education, childcare, and out-of-school resources in Northeast Ohio). The partnership between OhioGuidestone and Starting Point directly confronts the gaps many childcare centers, educators and families are navigating. The $48 million Pre-School Development Grant and Governor Dewine’s plans to address early care supported this partnership. Brittany emphasized the integral role of combining research with the input of early childcare teachers, parents, and community members. The preexisting relationships between our children and their early care educators can only be strengthened. Our Joyful Together program nevertheless will continue bringing love, joy, and nurturing, and in-turn building resiliency!

IFCI’s Alignment with Governor Dewine’s Plans

Ohio Governor Mike Dewine illuminated the grant in a press release stating that the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) will receive funding over the next three years to increase and furthermore ensure quality early care education. Funding would undoubtedly assist in reaching an evidence-based solution powered by community voices.  IFCI is committed to putting into action Governor Dewine’s call to increase access and family engagement in early care and education, preparing early childhood care and education professionals with culturally appropriate trauma training, credentialing, and parent support. We at IFCI explicitly believe in an us & we centered approach. Family members, educators and caretakers are key partners in grant activities, policy development and initiatives. Their voices should lead the path toward a more equitable, resiliency-centered society!

Reinhild Boehme, Institute Fellow showcasing who we are and what we do here at the Institute! Reinhild explored trauma and toxic stress and the need to implement and recognize the impact of trauma informed practices in legal environments!

What IFCI could do with more funding

At the Institute our purpose is to spread OhioGuidestone’s impact on whole person health by leveraging innovation, research, and advocacy.  By focusing on whole person health we empower families and communities, and equip professionals. With more funding our preexisting Joyful Together Early Care & Education (ECE) work could reach more educators, in turn enhancing a higher percentage of relationships through everyday moments. The program equips early care educators and administrators with tools to implement the model into their preexisting routines. With more funding IFCI could continue enhancing lives and building strong, resilient communities through innovation, research, and evaluation. Likewise, we could continue implementing groundbreaking trainings and innovations that are culturally relevant and sensitive. We at IFCI envision an Ohio where communities no longer just survive, they also thrive.

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